Our venues


Photo bmag

World class museum in the heart of Birmingham city centre.

Chamberlain Square

Birmingham, B3 3DH

0121 348 8038

Photo thinktank

Award-winning science museum for fun-packed family days out.

Millennium Point, Curzon Street

Birmingham, B4 7XG

0121 348 8000

Photo aston

Explore the splendour of one of the last great houses built in the Jacobean style.

Trinity Road, Aston

Birmingham, B6 6JD

0121 348 8100

Photo blakesley

Discover a fine Tudor house and beautiful gardens just a few miles from the heart of the city.

Blakesley Road

Birmingham, B25 8RN

0121 348 8120

Photo jewellery

A perfectly preserved workshop in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

75-80 Vyse Street

Birmingham, B18 6HA

0121 348 8140

Photo sarehole

A 250 year old working watermill famous for its association with author J.R.R Tolkien.

Cole Bank Road

Birmingham, B13 0BD

0121 348 8160

Photo soho

Georgian home of the Birmingham industrialist, Matthew Boulton.

Soho Avenue (off Soho Road)

Birmingham, B18 5LB

0121 348 8150

Photo weoley

The ruins of an exquisite fortified manor house built 750 years ago.

Alwold Road

Birmingham, B29

0121 348 8160

9 Jun 2015

New photography for Baroque Masterpiece

My name is Helen and I am the National Gallery Curatorial Trainee, supported by the Art Fund. I am currently involved in a project to research and rehang Birmingham Museums Trust’s fantastic collection of 17th century European art. The new galleries are set to open in just under two weeks, and in preparation for this we have re-photographed key pieces from our collection. 

Judith with the Head of Holofernes by Agostino Cornacchini, 1722

One of the star sculptures featured in the new display is ‘Judith with the Head of Holofernes’ by Agostino Cornacchini, made around 1722. The sculpture shows the figure of Judith holding the severed head of Holofernes, an Assyrian General. According to the biblical story, Holofernes’ army attacked Judith’s city so she entered the enemy camp, seduced Holofernes and killed him. The leaderless army fled and Judith was celebrated as a heroine. In this sculpture, Judith is shown triumphantly stepping over Holofernes’ lifeless body whilst her maid watches from the sidelines, awaiting her mistress’ orders and ready to take the head away in a sack.

The severed head of Holofernes

The detail of Judith's face

The maid ready to take the head away in a sack

The sculpture was one of a series of twelve bronzes commissioned by the Electress Palatine, Anna Maria Louisa Medici, and displayed in her personal apartments at the Palazzo Pitti. ‘Judith with the Head of Holofernes’ was one of the works displayed in the most important room, the audience chamber. Here, it would have been viewed by distinguished guests and visitors.

Amazingly Birmingham Museums Trust also owns an early design for the sculpture, illustrating how Cornacchini’s idea for the sculpture changed over time. He would later add the figure of the maid, thus showing the complete story from start to finish in a single snapshot. 

An early design for the sculpture

As part of the new photography, we have created a rotating view of the sculpture, which allows us to take a closer look from every angle!

If you want to learn more about our incredible collection of Baroque art, check out the What's On for special events and talks.